The list of all we are grateful for is long at The Campaign for College Opportunity, especially as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary and the major policy victories that are helping to improve higher education in our state. But, first and foremost we are grateful for the amazing and persistent college students who help make California a better place.
Students like Toni Gomez who have lived close to the edge of poverty and know that college is the key to a stable future. We met Toni in 2010 when she worked on the Student Success Task Force to develop recommendations for improving student success in community colleges. Toni’s courageous decision to share her own story of poverty and the challenges she had to overcome to succeed, made her a powerful and authentic voice in the Capitol. She put a face to the unnecessary barriers students face.
Toni had faced significant financial aid obstacles that almost made her give up on her college dream. She once survived for two months with only $34 in her bank account as she waited for her financial aid money to be disbursed. She worked odd jobs to scrape together cash. She carpooled to school with her neighbor and also depended on food stamps. She often didn’t have money for books and would borrow a classmate’s copy or photocopy the book in the library. Despite her hardships, Toni refused to give up and instead found comfort in helping students like herself. She became the Associated Student Body President on her campus and did her best to connect students to the resources available to them. Toni eventually transferred to Mills College and graduated with a degree in Public Policy. She is now the Director of Graduate and Professional Student Advocacy for the University of California Student Association (UCSA) and her story is just one of many that we’ve had the privilege of hearing. Our policy work is aimed at helping students like Toni. Our goal is to use policy as a lever to remove the barriers that students face and press for the funding necessary to help more college students reach their college dreams.
We want to thank you for all that you do to support our mission and help students like Toni and I encourage you to go one step further by contributing to the California College Access Tax Credit Fund. The fund was signed into law this year by Governor Brown and was created by Senate Pro Tem Leader Kevin de León to increase the Cal Grant B access award for low-income students from the current cap of $1,648 to as much as $5,000.
In the remaining weeks of 2014, you can help thousands of college students finance their educations by contributing to the new fund. In return, you will also receive a state tax credit.
Thank you again for all of the ways that you’ve supported our work, please consider contributing to the fund and help us spread the word.
About the Author:Michele Siqueiros is the President of the Campaign for College Opportunity.
To read her complete bio, click here. Follow her on Twitter @MSCollegeOpp